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West Ward candidates to target McNeilis seat in 2014



Date Published: {J}

There is a saying that change is a motivator and change has its enemies. This could, in some way, describe the outcome of the local elections in the Galway City West electoral ward almost two years ago when change was the order of the day.

The former South Ward delivered five councillors compared to four on the previous occasion; it returned candidates who had changed colours for one reason or another; and it got rid of a few high profile names who were not best pleased while a couple of new names hit the political scene.

When the next Local Elections are held in 2014, there is no doubt that this electoral area could deliver another few surprises as a considerable number of names are being mentioned as being potential candidates.

Twice a poll topper, Donal Lyons became an Independent having previously been a member of the ill fated PDs; Catherine Connelly jumped ship from Labour and became an Independent; Hildegarde Naughton caused something of a stir when ousting FG party colleague John Mulholland from office; Peter Keane became the new face of Fianna Fáil in the area; and Niall McNeilis benefited from the swing to Labour.

It was an amazing feat by the current Mayor, Councillor Naughton, who was parachuted into the area by Fine Gael having come from Oranmore, living along the Headford Road and teaching in the city centre. The electorate in the Salthill and Knocknacarra area say that she has not been a hands-on councillor and this could impact on her reelection prospects.

However, with Fine Gael having only one out of five seats in the area, they will be depending on her to deliver again and there is no doubt that there will be approaches made to current Galway senior football boss, Alan Mulholland to run for the party. The odds on the well known bookie making himself available to regain the seat held by his father are slim.

The main parties agree that there is little to touch Lyons and Connolly so they will most likely target McNeilis’ Labour seat, which he narrowly won ahead  of John Mulholland last time  out.

Fianna Fáil are likely to run two candidates in this area and there is a possibility that former Galway City Central councillor John Connolly, who lost his seat in 2009, might consider running in Galway City West as he is living in Boleybeg and is involved with Barna GAA Club.

Speaking of the GAA, there is also a lot of talk surrounding the new Chairman of Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA Club, David Burke being a Fianna Fáil candidate – interestingly he took over the chair from Lyons who didn’t contest the position in the end. Keane would also see him as a major threat to his seat.

It is unlikely that former vintner’s chief and former councillor, Val Hanley will run on the Fianna Fáil ticket on the next occasion, having unsuccessfully contested the last two Local Elections.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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